How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry Without Penalties

Knowing how many golf clubs can you carry is the first critical step to success in golf. The United States Golf Association, USGA, imposed a specific maximum number of golf clubs that every golfer should have in their golf club.

How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry

How Many Golf Clubs Can You Carry Without Penalties

And the rules are meant to be adhered to, if not, might attract some unfavorable penalties.

The USGA specified the maximum number of golf clubs in a bag as 14 clubs.

The standard 12 golf club sets include three kinds of wood (3, 5, and conductor), right boards (pitch and 3-9 iron wedge), and putters.

If the number of golf clubs in a golfer’s bag is less than 14, he can still add more clubs to complete the maximum number, but not more.

So if you’re thinking of how many golf clubs can you have, just know that you’re allowed to bring up to 14 clubs but not more.

You can only use the maximum number of clubs while playing – no room for changes and cannot use any other clubs apart from the 14 clubs. You can only replace only the ones that break.

You’re also not allowed to borrow clubs from your opponent or teammate. Disobeying any of these rules will automatically cost you certain rounds of your game.

Let’s go into more details on how many golf clubs can you have. This section will cover more detail about how many golf clubs can you carry.

As you know (or may not know), both R&A and USGA (golf governing bodies) sets stringent rules and regulations on even the tiniest details of everything related to how many golf clubs can you have.

As mentioned earlier, golfers can only have a maximum of 14 clubs in a golf bag for tournament competition.

This is according to Rule No.4 of the golf Constitution: Rule No 4 covers the total number of equipment a golf player can carry along for either match play or tournament.

The rule is set on the ground that golf is a professional game in which winners should be judged on the ground of skill and ability;

You must comply with the set number of sticks and balls, and they should not be replaced; also, you should avoid using other equipment that offers artificial help.

What are the penalties for exceeding the maximum golf clubs?

When looking for how many golf clubs can I have, you should be careful to not carry for more than the set maximum as it may attract severe penalties.

The penalty is two strokes for every the hole where the breach occurred.

For example, if you discovered that you have 15 clubs in your bag when playing the second hole, your penalty will be four strokes.

The maximum penalty you can get for violating the rule is 4 strokes. And that’s the worst that could ever happen.

The penalty for violating the excess club rules varies among different golf formats. In other words, the penalty in match-play formats is not the same as in the popular hit formats.

According to the USGA, the golfer who violated the excess club rule must confirm that the extra club (s) is out of play.

The opponent will declare the excess club as offside in a stroke competition.

The golfer will be penalized with two-stroke for each of the holes where the extra clubs were used.

As aforementioned, while discussing how many golf clubs can you carry, the maximum stroke any golfer can get in a single round is four, which is devastating enough.

For game penalties, the golfer must deduct one hole he won for each penalty.

The maximum hole that can be deducted for each round is two. If you discovered the violation while on a hole, you will be penalized after completing the hole.

And if you discovered the breach before completing a certain hole, your previous hole will be penalized. However, the game is totally different in Matchplay.

Here, the penalty for breaking the excess club limit is one hole, meaning that your overall golf score will change once you break the rule.

You won’t lose one hole, but your total golf score will go down the drain.

When it comes to taking precautions on how many clubs can be in a golf bag,

we recommend that you confirm the number of golf clubs in your bag before leaving for the gameplay because the bookstore of these rules will face the music.

How golf club limits started

Things were different back then. The rules guiding excess club for golfer was a flexible one. During the 20s, golfers carry between 20-25 clubs for tournaments.

Later on, both amateur and professional golfers started carrying more clubs (clubs with steel shaft, sticks with levers) to tournaments to boost their winning chances.

That was when the golf governing bodies decided to ‘put a limit’ to how many clubs can be in a golf bag.

To avoid cheating and unworthy wins in golf matches, they imposed certain limits on how many golf clubs can you have or bring to tournaments.

The automatic disqualification was the penalty for excess golf clubs back in those days.

The rule was stringent, and there was no mercy for any golfer caught violating the excess club rules.

The rule was later re-reviewed and changed. Today, the penalty is two strokes for each hole where the violations were made or deducting one hole for the match.

This rule puts the skills of golfers to test and evaluate how well they can manage to pull through with limited club varieties.

From another angle, the limitation imposed on club limit is a huge benefit for your spine as you will be forced to carry only a moderate amount of clubs because having more than 14 clubs in a bag can be nerve-racking.

Prices of golf clubs are no child’s play, so the rule helps you save some bucks too.

Additional FAQs

  • What are the different types of golf clubs to carry?

Golf clubs are available in different types. Hybrid golf clubs offer the best of both the iron and the wood.

Hybrids are common among professional golfers because of its ease of control. They find it easier to use, unlike long irons.

When it comes to how many golf clubs can you carry, always prioritize the functionality of a club over its style or aesthetics.

Because it is the comfort and functionality (apart from your skill) that determines how well you perform on the course.

Check how the club makes you feel in terms of length and weight. Explore different models of putters so that you can choose what works for you.

Professional golfers usually adhere to a maximum of 14 clubs in a golf bag.

However, there may be exceptions to adhering to the rule, as some may accidentally carry more than the maximum clubs.

If you want to get ahead in the golf world, abiding by rules is the first thing you should learn to do, and knowing how many golf clubs can you carry is the first step.

  • Are you allowed to borrow your partner’s golf clubs?

Simply put, it’s a big no! The rule of golf forbids a player from using a fellow player’s club to make a stroke that will possibly count for his score.

So if you’re planning to share your partner’s club, be sure to do that before or after the gameplay.

Funnily, you can keep your golf clubs in the same bag with your partners,’ but you’re not allowed to use each other’s club, and you must learn to identify your clubs.

  • Can I add new golf clubs during gameplay?

Yes, you can add new clubs in a bag during a round. Just be sure you’re not breaking the 14 golf club maximum rule.

For example, if you initially came with 12 clubs, you can always add a maximum of 2 clubs (no breaches). You’re not breaking any rules doing this.

  • Any rules guiding the type of golf club to carry?

First off, you must comply with all the rules guiding how many clubs can be in a golf bag.

That said, there are no rules guiding the type of golf club to carry in your bag. It’s your choice! Want five putters, four drivers, plus five lob wedges, it’s your choice.

  • Some golf players who broke the rules

Ian Woosnam, in 2001 was so close to winning the open championship. He later discovered that he had exceeded the 14 clubs in the bag, which dropped him to position 6.



Woody Austin, in 2013 was doing pretty well during a PGA championship game. He discovered an extra club in his bag at the 3rd hole.

  • Golf club rules – any exception to the rule?

The rule is pretty flexible. So you don’t have to hold it to the neck.

USGA allows you to carry more than 14 golf clubs in your bag only when you’re practicing and not when you’re going for a tournament.

So when it comes to how many golf clubs can you carry, the penalty only applies when you exceed the maximum number during tournaments and not during practices or for other recreational purposes.

Beginner golfers do not need the maximum 14 clubs as they are yet to get a full hang of the game. It is best to reduce the number of golf clubs to the barest minimum.

This way, you can easily pick a golf club set that works for you and your golfing strategy.

7 Tips How to Organize Golf Clubs in Bag

When it comes to how to organize golf clubs in bag, there is a thin line between a novice and a professional golfer. Many beginners usually place their golf clubs inappropriately.

Knowing the right location for each club is a first step in outsmarting your competition.

Organizing your clubs – what to know

Organizing your golf clubs the right way is a critical aspect of the sport. Your clubs will be safe and secure for carriage and travel. Your accessories will be kept intact and close.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to organizing your clubs, but in the end, the benefits are outrageous.

We’ll be discussing how to organize golf clubs in bag and dive deeper into each section and provide the necessary info to help you organize your golf clubs in the bag.

  • Declutter your golf bag (remove all equipment in your bag)

Most times, our golf bag is stuffed with many things we don’t need. Having too much equipment can clutter up your club bag, leaving them disorganized and even heavier to carry.

The first step to better organization is to remove everything so that you can separate what you need and what you don’t.

Don’t leave out the side pockets as extra things like golf balls, gloves, towels, etc., are always lurked inside of them.

  • Assemble the key equipment

The concept of how to organize golf club in bag is critical. The organization allows you to properly keep your clubs in a place where they are easy to access during gameplay.

Not only does the golf club’s organization give you an edge over the competition, but it also increases your experience.

Since many people underestimate the benefits of an organized golf bag,

the knowledge and experience you get from the organization will help improve your skill and a stepping stone to becoming an expert golfer.

Knowing the right location for each club is one of the most important steps in outsmarting your competition.

After removing everything in your golf bag, the next step on how to organize golf clubs in bag is to gather your key equipment.

Your drivers, irons, and putters should be arranged together for easy organization.

Be sure to keep them in one place. When you put them together in one place, you can easily know how many of these clubs deserve a spot in your golf bag.

Your irons, clubs, and wedges are the most important things you need. So always prioritize them when it comes to how to organize golf clubs in bag.

  • Know your environment

Once you’ve gathered your main equipment, you’ll love to know what to take and what not to. I suggest allowing your environment to make a fair share of your decision.

For example, what’s the weather situation in your golf course environment? You don’t want to pack your raincoat along if it’s sunny.

  • Organize your Putters

Another way to organize golf clubs is to arrange your putter. A gold bag typically has 3 different sections. The strap is closest to the backside of the bag than the front side of the bag.

Always organize the putters first – place the putters near the straps (which is at the back of the bag).

Alternatively, at the back of some golf bags are putter sleeves. But if your golf bag doesn’t have one, just stick to the option of putting the putters at the back.

  • Place your Woods and drivers appropriately

As with the putters, the back of the bag is an excellent place to place the woods and drivers.

When it comes to how to organize golf clubs in bag, always remember that the back of your bag is another excellent place to put your wood and drivers in the absence of a putter compartment.

When positioning your clubs, always arrange from the longest to the shortest. 1 to 3 iron-ranges should be placed at the back so as not to confuse them with shorter clubs.

When the back section of your bag is well organized, you won’t have a problem getting the front section fully organized. Also, you should place the Woods, irons, and drivers at the back.

  • Sort out the Middle Irons and Short Clubs

An important thing you should know when looking for how to organize golf clubs in bag is that other clubs from 3-7 are called the long and middle irons.

Position these clubs beneath the driver in the bag. As said earlier, for better organization, place the longest clubs first and then to the shortest.

To keep your golf bag balanced during traveling, be sure to position your long to middle irons from left to right. Plus, it will be easier to find the club to use.

Organize your irons properly, and you won’t have a problem picking them up when needed.

  • Accessories

Conclusively, the position of your accessories also matters. Place them in the appropriate location for ease of access and to enjoy your gameplay.

Consider keeping them in the side pockets of your bag. Your ball markers, spare balls, and tees should occupy the top and front pocket.

This way, you can easily access these frequently used items.

Sunglasses, books, rules, gloves, and some other rarely used items should occupy the side pockets.

The items you rarely need should be kept in the less accessible pockets. The organization keeps you on top of the game by helping you stay prepared ahead of the game.

In Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you know how many golf clubs can you carry.

However, watching golf on TV looks pretty easy that golfers only need to swing the club, and that’s all.

But that’s untrue! A lot happened through the backdoor that plays a role in how well a golfer performs on the green.

How well a golfer performs depends more on the type of club sets he plays with and how well his shots can be. Also, try as much as possible to avoid carrying more than the maximum 14 clubs in a golf bag.

Always count the total number of golf clubs in your bag before going for a tournament course.

Even an extra one club at the least can cost you a lot.

Make sure you understand the playing position before each round so you can choose the right club sets.

The concept of how to organize golf club in bag is critical. The organization allows you to properly keep your clubs in a place where they are easy to access during gameplay.

Not only does the golf club’s organization give you an edge over the competition, but it also increases your experience.

Since many people underestimate the benefits of an organized golf bag.

The knowledge and experience you get from the organization will help improve your skill and a stepping stone to becoming an expert golfer.

Knowing the right location for each club is one of the most important steps in outsmarting your competition.

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